Five questions for the Home Secretary

6 November 2008

Much of the content of Jacqui Smith’s speech about the ID scheme to a hand-picked audience in central London this morning has already been leaked, but the Home Secretary has yet to answer FIVE crucial questions:

1. How were the airports involved chosen? BATA says is universally opposed, so what bribery or threats were used to chip these two off?

2. How many individuals will the trial cover? (Manchester Airport says it will enroll ‘new starters’ from October 2009, not all its workers.)

3. You announced back in February that ‘airside workers’ would be enrolled from 2009, citing 200,000 people. You are now doing the minimum to save face. Is this a climbdown in the face of concerted resistence from airlines, airports, pilots and groundstaff unions? Or is it that the Home Office is incompetent to get the scheme running, as the independent experts seem to think?

4. If this is voluntary will people be able to leave the scheme when they leave the airport? Or is it the Hotel California card? (The way the ID scheme is designed once you are registered there is no way off – ever – which puts those who ‘join’ on a par with a tiny minority of sex offenders.)

5. How will you know if the ‘pilot’ is a failure? If it is, will you abandon the ID scheme?

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